Quality and Efficacy of Tribulus terrestris as an Ingredient for Dermatological Formulations

Gian-Pietro Di Sansebastiano*, 1, Maria De Benedictis1, Davide Carati2, Dario Lofrumento1, Miriana Durante3, Anna Montefusco1, Vincenzo Zuccarello1, Giuseppe Dalessandro1, Gabriella Piro1
1 University of Salento, DiSTeBA, Campus Ecotekne, 73100 Lecce (LE), Italy
2 EKUBERG Pharma s.r.l, Via Pozzelle n.36 73025 Martano (LE), Italy
3 CNR, Istituto di Scienze delle Produzioni Alimentari (ISPA), Campus Ecotekne, 73100 Lecce (LE), Italy

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© 2013 Sansebastiano et al.

open-access license: This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International Public License (CC-BY 4.0), a copy of which is available at: This license permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.

* Address correspondence to this author at the University of Salento, DiSTeBA, campus Ecotekne, 73100 Lecce (LE), Italy; Tel: +39 0832 298713/4; Fax: +39 0832 298858; E-mail:


Tribulus terrestris L. (Zygophyllaceae) is an annual plant commonly known as Puncture vine. It is dramatically gaining interest as a rich source of saponins. T. terrestris is a promising ingredient for many industries and recent patents on dermatological applications support the use of this plant for cosmetics and hygiene. Nonetheless problems arise in the selection of the material to be used. The extracts of different origins may differ substantially. Natural speciation processes normally influence ‘variations’ in wild-crafted medicinal plants. The genus Tribulus is emblematic. Taxonomic status of T. terrestris is complicated by the wide geographical distribution leading to high levels of genetic polymorphism. Being aware of such variability we selected 3 commercial Tribulus extracts and compared their biological effect on Candida albicans with the effect produced by an extract from local plants (South of Apulia, Italy). One of the commercial extracts with the best anti-candida performance was used to substitute triclosan in a detergent formulation and it proved to improve the product performance in the control of potentially pathogenic skin flora such as C. albicans.

Keywords: Anti-Candida effect, Candida albicans, intimate hygiene, skin flora, Tribulus terrestris.